Strategic Business Management Includes Revenue
Hr Professional
Learning & Teaching Fellow (retired)
Consultant - Hr & Legal
Us Hr

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Respected Seniors,
Kindly advise on how to handle situations where HOD's at very senior position are not willing to adhere to HR polices and procedure.
Also since they are in good books of Directors and CEOs and think that except Director and CEO, others have no importance.
Do they have to be handled diplomatically (If yes, how) or sternly (if yes, how)
Kindly guide.
Warm Regards,

From India, Delhi
Hi Sashmita,
It purely depends on how your supervisor wants you to handle it. If your supervisor is not leniant then you can have your supervisor or you email the HOD who are not complying with policies. Send a formal email with the policies and procedures mentioned and ask them to follow it as they will be lead by example for others.
Its important to keep these things on record as you would have documented proof in case action would need to be taken against him later on.
Also you can email your supervisor with the details of non compliance and ask for advice/next steps to be taken on email. This way it will show that you have done your job, later on your boss cant put it on you saying that you did not do your job well.
But in the kind of scenario you have described no action is taken towards the HOD. Political angle plays more importance hence if nothing works just document by sending to your supervisor and leave it at that.

From India
From the query it appears that those HODs are senior to you in position. Also,you have not said how large your firm is and its structure. If your boss is of the same rank as those HODs, then (s)he should be writing to them after consulting with his her/his boss. One has to be diplomatic. Rather than tell them to toe the line; a letter should be said explaining the dangers of not toeing the line and a copy should be sent to their boss.
Have a nice day.
A retired academic in the UK

From United Kingdom
Hi Sashmita:

I am glad you have brought a very nice topic for discussion in the community,

I understand the problem you have presented. In quite a number of Organizations, similar situation exists.

One problem with many Organizations is whereas senior level technical personnel are positioned first and hr personnel and that too at a far junior level are recruited later. This creates a very delicate situation for hr persoonel even for communication with the top management. Unless these hr personnel have the maturity, tact and resourcefulness, it will be very difficult to keep sailing in these organizations. In such situations, we should have very good communication with the CEO and slowly build it up with the other Directors also. We should have excellent communication skills in explaining the rationale of every policy and procedure. Affter all hr is a service function. Rarely, we get CEOs like Jack Welch of GE who advocated elevation of the HR functionary to the level of the Board in every Organization. Till such time, we have to be patient and persuasively work with the top management and convince them on the need to stick to the policies and procedures.

Also, this problem is predominant in organizations having a small work force. As the Organization expands, the top management will start realising that unless they are consistent in their policies and procedures, it will be very difficult for them to run the Organization smoothly. Ultimately, it is they who will have to face the music!

R Sundararajan

From India, Madras
Do you remember the last time you had a bad day because of a negative colleague? Or the time when you adjusted to the snide remarks by a coworker (with great difficulty, though)?

Cut throat competition, office politics, stringent deadlines, unreasonable targets, long working hours, no vacations, discrimination, sexual harassment… the list of workplace woes is endless. And to make things worse is a cynical colleague who exudes negativity all the time. While these workplace blues are unconstrained you can try and bring a change in how you deal with Mr/Ms Miserable.

Avoid falling prey to the pessimist by these simple measures:

Don’t get into a debate: Arguments lead to conflicts. It is human to react and argue to protest a point. However, in this situation we need to control our behaviour and responses. Don’t let the snide remarks bother you. Deal with the matter firmly but nicely. Reacting to such negativity will hamper your inner peace. And in the end, it’s about you not about them.

Avoid going public: Such miserable people are insecure about their demeanor. They say or do things to get attention – yours and others too. By confronting them in public you are actually falling into their trap. Once you make the situation public, it will destroy all future possibilities of fixing it.

Lend a helping hand: Grumpy starts shouting in the morning, “I handle everything. I have no life after office. I don’t have any friends.” Now, although it is difficult, try to get to the root cause of this outburst. The outburst suggests the person needs help in his work or someone with whom he can talk to. Take the onus to lend help. A simple, “Are you okay?” or “Can I share some of the workload?” can do wonders. He would never have expected someone to be so kind, as according to his perception people are least bothered about him. You could actually help him change.

Why is he negative? Not everyone can talk straight on the face some people have a less eloquent way of expressing themselves. Allow them to express themselves freely and just let them be. A free speech will help you know them better and the cause of their negativity. Many a times people are not negative, they are just perceived so. Instead of getting knocked out by his negativity, infuse your positivity in him.

Limit yourself: By now, you must have tried everything – a combination of politeness and a good dose of firmness and positivity. If nothing works, it is time to deal with the situation by staying aloof. Neither be supportive nor critical. Such people sap your energy and in turn your productivity. Reduce contact with them as much as possible.

Remember, you have a life after office and a right to live it as you please. Your time is precious, don’t let anyone spoil it.

From India, Patiala
Dear Ms. Sashmita
I had understood from the information that i had acquired through various resource including my experience "SIMPLICITY" is missing in those employees holding senior most positions with decades of experience.

1) I believe either POWER or MONEY or KNOWLEDGE or SKILLS/TALENT or BACKGROUND SUPPORT is making senior employees to develop and promote EGO. These employees know how to play SAFE GAME and RETAIN(they know how to convince their boss, butter them up and lot more) their POST until they retire but whoever challenges or takes initiative to bring changes in them, will cost him/her job.

2) The greatness of an individual lies in his simplicity. Those employees who had embraced SIMPLICITY are the BEST LEADERS, blessed with multiple skills and loved by all. Also they maintain very LOW SELF-ESTEEM.

3)When your HOD'S are supported by DIRECTORS & CEO, you cant do anything. I suggest the practical solution "CHANGE SHOULD COME FROM TOP MANAGEMENT".

4) If you handle them diplomatically you will become one among them as they want you to be like "what they are"
5) If you deal sternly then it may cost you your job as they are in good books of DIRECTORS & CEO.

If you really want to change them gradually, which is a time consuming process then i suggest you to adopt a process where you need to let them know and differentiate between GOOD and BAD, ANGEL & DEVIL. They have to understand "what they are" and "what they are suppose to be". You need extensive knowledge, Maturity, lot of Patience, Positive mental/physical Attitude(positive thinking and lot more to deal with such people......Any time you may loose the whole game but never let this moment happen......

It is not you who is going to change your HOD bit, it is they themselves who are going to change are just going to help them to embrace positive changes.

With profound regards

From India, Chennai
The same situation in my experience. The first thing that you have to do is, BE CALM. open intent is something that will help you in immediate rapo building. understand what he wants and act accordingly. Be proactive on his matters and come up with ideas. very particularly when you have something to say NO, say it very politically. Means never say yes, provided the support...
From India, Bangalore
Dear Seniors..
I am thankful for your kind and positive response..
to some extent I am trying to remain calm and keep my views clear and documented thru mail.
As far as dealing with them.. I am trying to be rational and calm. However the body language they carry doesnt seems very positive towards me.
Thank you.

From India, Delhi
Dear Sashmita, As you have not answered my questions it is not easy for me to give any concrete advice. Hope everything works out as you wish. Have a nice day. Simhan
From United Kingdom
Dear Sashmitha,
As per my observation I would like to share my personal feeling on this particular topic (Dealing with difficult people at workplace). To get the support from ur HOD's first of try to know the reasons for not supprting you. Prepare a list of areas/processes like recruitment, compensation, joining, transfers, training, confirmation, hikes, performance evaluation etc., & then observe the areas where the HODs are supprting you and where not?
Now take the consolidate data, ask them feedback for better improvments in the policy so that the HOds & CEO would mutually approve the policy. By this way u will be working closely with ur HODs, recieve their feedback & make changes if approved. As the suggestion are taken from HODs they have no alternative other than to support u.
Dear seniors correct me if I am wrong.

From India, Hyderabad

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